Mobile wallets are the payment method of the present and the future. Consumers have been navigating toward this payment method since the launch of online shopping. Companies quickly realized that it is cumbersome to make a purchase on-the-go when you have to shuffle through your wallet to find your credit card. This also lowers the likelihood of the transaction being completed. Companies later implemented a feature on their websites to save previously used payment information. However, this method still does not eliminate the use of a physical credit card in many cases.This is where mobile wallets are useful. A March 2015 report showed that 39% of all mobile users in the U.S. used their mobile phone to make payment for goods or services in that year. By 2017, it is expected that more than 70 percent of consumers will use their mobile phones to make payments using a mobile wallet application. The increasing popularity of the mobile wallet allows more opportunities for marketers to engage with a wide arrange of audiences through their mobile devices.
For marketers, the mobile wallet application allows a unique entry point into the consumer’s space by utilizing their phone as a place for product sales. Companies such as Starbucks and Chipotle have used the mobile wallet application to their advantage in the marketplace. Starbucks Rewards, a customer loyalty program, developed a mobile application where customers can pre-order drinks and pay for them on their mobile devices, all while receiving reward points towards a free drink. Starbucks promotes this application through the incentive of a free drink and by emphasizing the short wait time when ordering. Chipotle used their mobile application for purchases, but also for marketing initiatives to promote brand awareness. Chipotle recently released a mobile game titled Guc Hunter which allows customers to participate in a short matching game to receive a coupon for free guacamole. If won, this coupon will appear in their mobile wallet. Marketers can track how many customers receive coupons and also how many customers use the coupon through mobile wallet features.
Mobile wallets not only allow for flexibility in payment options, but also provide new opportunities for mobile marketing. The ideal mobile wallet has personalized credit card, reward card, and coupon information available on the user’s mobile device. Mobile wallets can also be used to remind consumers about coupon expiration. This further encourages consumers to make a purchase, whether than forgetting about a coupon that had been stored in their physical wallet. The ability to reach into the mobile sphere and alert consumers of a product is an invaluable asset. This opportunity was previously limited by jurisdiction such as “do-not-call” lists and the “Promotion” filter on Gmail. The mobile wallet applications offer an alternative to those limitations. It is arguably synonymous to personalized door-to-door sales, but instead through consumers’ mobile phones. The mobile wallet harnesses the power of the push-notification feature, by allowing alerts to appear on mobile phones whenever updates or new deals are made available. These alerts have a much higher chance of being viewed, since people are constantly checking their notifications on their phones.
Ultimately, mobile wallets are on the rise and the opportunity for marketers is on the rise with it. Through the use of the mobile wallets, companies have the possibility to engage with customers through their mobile devices in an impactful way. Mobile wallets provide marketers with new tactics to communicate with customers and drive demand. Mobile wallets also provide real-time insights for marketers that can be immediately used to improve performance or meet specific objectives. As more consumers begin to utilize mobile wallets, we may see an eclipse of the physical wallet along with printable coupons. Marketers focusing on initiatives that utilize the mobile wallet can yield positive results as this application continues to thrive.